President Maud Mandel met the Class of ’70 at Friday evening’s Presidential Forum Weekend dinner September 28, 2018 in the new Weston Field House. The Presidential Forum was held exclusively for the Class of ’70.
President Mandel led an hour’s informal discussion with the Class after making a few opening remarks. We also attended her extended interview presentation with all 50th Reunion classes at the larger Theatre Arts Center Saturday morning, Sept. 29
President Mandel communicates a warm, open, accessible, confident, “practicable liberal arts” and student-centered message. Sh
e is well versed on the issues facing Williams today. She seems to be exactly the president Williams needs on this strong but ever-changing young undergraduate campus.
An early goal, is to help reassure and support “First Gen” students and others as they encounter the rigorous Williams curriculum, culture, and classes. See the September Williams Record, “Unofficial Guide to Navigating College Life Released in Email” September 2018. We heard during the Presidential Forum that many students are finding Williams an unexpected challenge – something we’re all familiar with, having entered ourselves in 1966 during a period of great change and transition.
President Mandel’s accessibility and confidence as the Dean of Brown University’s undergraduate college seems just the right blend for a multi-cultural student body looking for support, guidance, and reassurance in a rigorous, nationally ranked liberal arts college.
You will love meeting President Mandel at either our next mini-reunion in Fall, 2019, or at our 50th Reunion in June, 2020.
During this extended weekend the College gave the Class of ’70 an exclusive, in-depth look at the College There were five (5) seminars in four (4) different buildings Thursday, and three (3) more seminars Friday morning.
Then there were campus tours, art tours, and other “optional” Friday afternoon seminars were offered prior to the All-Class dinner Friday night with the classes of ’68, ’69, ’70, ’71, and ’72. Your reporter met at least ten (10) friends from ’68-’72 we haven’t seen in 50 years! What a night!
The 50th Reunion Office, the various top administrators and presenters, and President Mandel all were open and candid with us about the issues facing Williams and Williams students today. The “take away” was that Williams as an institution is strong in almost every category, but the anxious state of our current society is, among other things, making some of the student body quite anxious.
All in all, Williams is remarkably strong, again ranking first among all liberal arts colleges in the U.S News and World Report’s 2019 national rankings.
President Mandel inherits a strong college with a strong student body which nevertheless needs a little TLC, just as we did. While a remarkable construction program of new facilities hammers along everywhere around the college, President Mandel will seek to strengthen, reassure, and guide an undergraduate student body feeling the pressures of modern life.